A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Art in Leiden – the Open Makers

In my first blog post for the Leidener, I wrote about the tiny but lovely art scene here in Leiden  I had discovered at the Kunstroute. ( That was in September last year, and the girl who came with me on this treasure hunt, an Erasmus Student from Edinburgh and at that time a new arrival, seems now to be part of this little scene. We all know the cliché of Erasmus students just partying all semester long. My friend Susie, however, seems to fight constantly against this cliché, she is full of energy, involved in different projects and proves that Erasmus can be used to dedicate time for things that normally get easily forgotten in the daily routine of Uni stress.

A couple of months ago, Susie has started her own project and became part of a gallery called “Open Makers aan de Markt”.  Located near V&D, this space gives artists who are just starting off the chance to show their work. I remember the first time I went there with Susie I immediately felt really comfortable there. The woman who was showing us around was absolutely lovely and welcoming, and completely enthusiastic about this project. Instead of referring to their homepage, she just sat down at her desk, an old typewriter in front of her and started typing the program for the next month for us.

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A little while later, I came back to the Open Makers, to marvel at Susie’s work:

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Do you like art and would like to do something whilst you are staying abroad? Maybe the Open Makers might be the perfect opportunity for you? I asked Susie to write me a little comment about her experience:

Personally I got the idea to exhibit because I’ve always had a passion for art but, as an archaeology student, never really pursued it. Open Makers gave me the opportunity to complete and exhibit an artistic project in a really relaxed and inspiring environment. They’re very encouraging and welcoming which made it really fun, and they made me feel very welcome. The only rule is that you have to leave the space as you found it, but apart from that, you can basically do whatever you want to it. I painted the walls, mounted my canvases onto them, and created a small installation. Being given such freedom with the space allowed me to view the whole exhibition as one coherent piece; I could bring everything together in the ways I wanted because I was the one doing all the work in displaying it.

It was an incredibly positive experience, definitely one of the best opportunities I’ve had in Leiden. It was the perfect medium to explore art again and create something, while not feeling under pressure. It also allowed me to host Drink & Draw sketch groups, which went really well. I’d recommend OpenMakers to any budding artists, or anyone with creative tendencies – it’s a great environment to share ideas and try out projects.

Unfortunately, Susie is now about to leave Leiden to go back to Edinburgh. I hope she will continue using her creative energy there as well.  But all of you who got inspired by her idea, the gallery is always open for new ideas. So if you are interested in art, just give it a try and pop by!

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This entry was posted on June 30, 2013 by in Culture, Katharina, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .

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